Hotel News We Noted: June 14, 2013

rancho las palmas
Rancho Las Palmas Image Courtesy of Omni Hotels

Happy Friday, “Hotel News We Noted” readers. Summer is heating up, and that means that the hotel world is in full swing, promoting summer travel, touting new resort openings and even launching new initiatives. This column brings you the best, the weirdest and the most interesting news of note from the hospitality world each week. Have a tip, comment or question? Leave your note below or shoot us an email. We’d love to hear from you!

News of Note: Omni Gets Five
Dallas-based Omni Hotels & Resorts has gotten even grander as of July 1 with the acquisition of five of the country’s best-known resorts. The five properties are Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, TX; La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, CA; Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, CA; The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC; and The Homestead in Hot Springs, VA. We’re excited for the addition of these new properties to the brand’s portfolio – it gives us an even better way to use our loyalty points!

Wellness World: Trump Launches New Wellness Endeavor
We all know that Donald Trump doesn’t do anything halfway. It’s all in or “you’re fired,” as the catchphrase goes. So now, the brand has launched a comprehensive wellness program that blends healthy menus (Trump’s “Nourish”) with a healthy kids menu and super-fast-delivery menus (“Quick Bites”), plus has a fitness component (“Travel Fit”) that includes delivery of equipment to the room plus apparel, footwear and an iPod. In addition to working with two of the best brands in the biz (Technogym and Under Armour), Trump has done a brand-wide sweep of all in-room dining, quick dining and minibar options to make them all healthier and locally focused wherever possible. Kudos to Trump for going over the top – in a very good way.
Sad Hotel News: Carbon Monoxide Kills Young Boy At North Carolina Best Western
It was reported this week that a young boy was killed by carbon monoxide at a North Carolina Best Western hotel. The room, which was directly above the hotel’s pool heating equipment, also had caused the death of an elderly couple earlier in the year. While the incident is certainly unfortunate, it illustrates a scary fact – hotels are not often required to have in-room carbon monoxide detectors. If you feel faint, dizzy, or develop severe headaches in your hotel room, alert a member of the staff immediately.

Cool Promo: Marriott’s Autograph Collection Develops A Limited Edition Cocktail Book With Jim Beam Bourbon
Capitalizing on the small-batch cocktail trend (and just in time for National Bourbon Day, today!) the Autograph Collection of Marriott, a portfolio of fun independent hotels, has launched a special limited edition cocktail book with special drinks inspired by 12 of the hotels. Sample a drink that reminds you of Scrub Island in the BVIs or the Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront. Scrub Island did a “Scrub Island Dream,” a mix on a Dark and Stormy with bourbon, passion fruit puree and ginger beer, while the Bohemian reinvented a classic gin martini with a mix of Bourbon, amaretto, bitters and orange juice dubbed the Maritime Martini.

Photo Of The Day: Chicago Skyline

New York’s skyline might be better known, but there’s few cities on earth that can claim a more impressive architectural heritage than Chicago. Today Flickr user Bens640 shares a good example of why Chicago has one of the world’s most impressive collections of skyscrapers, both modern and historic. On the left is the bluish sheen of the Trump International Hotel and Tower, now the city’s second tallest building. On the right, the gorgeous Wrigley Building, completed in 1921.

Taken any great architecture shots during your urban travels? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

[Photo credit: Flickr user Bens640]

Hotel News We Noted: June 15, 2012

kimpton hotel dcWe’re almost officially into summer, friends, and it’s time for this week’s “it’s almost summer” edition of “Hotel News We Noted.” As always, feel free to email us tips and thoughts for next week’s edition.

Luxury Hotels: Four Seasons & Trump
If you’re a Trump hotels fan, you’re in luck. The brand has closed a deal on the Doral Resort & Spa in Florida and planned a $200 million renovation of the property. Four Seasons has also assumed management of a luxury favorite, New Mexico‘s former Auberge property, Encantado. They will rename the property Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe.

Awesome Amenity: Art Concierge
We’ve seen watch butlers, pet sitters and soap concierges, but now Rosewood San Miguel de Allende is taking personalization a step further with their new Art Concierge, who helps guests engage with the local public and community by facilitating interactive arts education and language classes. We’d ordinarily find this a strange service, but the San Miguel de Allende area has long been known as one of Mexico’s premier artist communities.

Hotel Package: Fourth of July in the Nation’s Capital
We may be biased because of our “Washingtonian” status, but we can’t help but think that the Nation’s Capital is a pretty great place to spend the Fourth of July. Starting Thursday (June 21) book rates at DC, Maryland and Virginia Kimpton hotels for $109 to $159 per night, a savings of more than 20 percent off. These boutique chic properties are the perfect home base from which to explore the museums, monuments and more. We’d highly suggest coming for July 4 and catching the famous fireworks show on the National Mall. Book here (the page goes live on Thursday) with code: BOOM. This exclusive sale is only 72-hours long, so book fast.

Hotel Visits: NYC’s 6 Columbus and The Standard East Village
We spent a quick weekend in New York City where we checked in and checked out of two boutique hotels in different areas of the city – 6 Columbus, a Thompson property, as well as The Standard East Village, formerly the Cooper Square Hotel. We loved the boutique vibe of both hotels – spare and minimalist but with luxe touches – Frette linens (both), designer bath amenities (Red Flower for The Standard, Kiehls for 6 Columbus) and piles of hard-to-find design and shelter magazines (both) for our in-room reading pleasure. Worth noting at 6 Columbus: in addition to chic restaurant Blue Ribbon Sushi, which was hopping even at nearly one in the morning, we loved the FourSquare special, which waived the $15 Wi-Fi fee for those who “checked in.” We were particularly interested in the new Standard, which is slowly renovating its public spaces and rooms from the old Cooper Square property. They’re not quite there yet – a room mishap at check-in took more than an hour to rectify (and required a few firm phone calls) – but fans of the Meatpacking property will be pleased to know that this hotel also offers floor-to-ceiling windows. We’re not sure if this was intentional, given the other location’s infamy for peep show like performances from guests, but we can say that we’re looking forward to seeing more changes down the road throughout the year.

Westin opens first hotel in Panama to the tune of $100 million

westin panamaPanama, ranked the number one travel destination by The New York Times and an emerging destination by pubs like Fodor’s and Travel + Leisure, has just gotten a little hotter with the opening of its first Westin hotel.

The newly-opened Westin Playa Bonita Panamá is 20 minutes outside Panama City, flanked by both rainforest and beach. The hotel boasts 611 luxury rooms and suites, six fine dining restaurants, four bars and an open-air VIP Lounge on the 19th floor, which boasts panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, rainforest and Panamá Canal.
While 600-something room hotels aren’t always our preference, it’s a great way to get a tropical escape on the calendar for a reasonable price or for a moderate number of SPG loyalty points.

This opening falls on the heels of other major hotel announcements in the fast-emerging must-visit destination, including the opening of Trump Ocean Club Panama earlier this year.

Trump SoHo puts a spa in guest rooms suites

trump new york hotelTravelers are becoming more aggressive today with their hotel amenity “must haves.” Everything from free WiFi to in-room coffee machines top the list of essential amenities for hotel guests. To help ease the demand, more hotels are offering these guest requests and some are even designing rooms that include everything from Disney characters to luxury car services.

But what if your hotel stay included a spa and fitness center in your room? What if you didn’t have to leave your room to sit in the sauna or get in a quick yoga class? That’s the premise behind Trump SoHo’s new concept, the 24/7 in-room spa suite.

The luxury New York hotel will unveil three new luxury spa suites on May 1 for the guest who needs some serious pampering. The suites include a private treatment room, hydrotherapy showers, and one suite is equipped with a sauna for two.Some more deliciousness from the spa suites:

  • The spa suites plus bedroom and living room suite range in size from 741-825 square feet
  • A 32-inch-deep Jacuzzi tubs with a view of Manhattan cityscapes
  • Stocked mini bar customized with healthy snacks and beverage options
  • Technogym Wellness Rack in your room, complete with custom-sized dumbbells and an in-room yoga kit
  • Private entrance to The Spa at Trump

As you would expect, this lap of luxury comes with a price. The spa suites start at $789 a night and come with a $200 spa credit per night.

How’s that $14.95 a day wireless access looking now?

Readers: Would you prefer to have your spa in your room, or do you enjoy the full experience of a full spa service?